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N.C. Department of Environment and Natural Resources

NC Department of Environment and Natural Resources
Marine Fisheries - Scup - stock status report

Marine Fisheries

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Scup

Scup

Stock Status – Viable – The Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council (MAFMC) stock assessment model for scup changed in 2008 from a simple index–based model to a statistical catch at age model. The most recent assessment update in 2009 used the same model configuration with fishery and survey catch information through 2008. The scup stock was not overfished and overfishing was not occurring relative to the biological reference points recommended by the 2008 Northeast Data Poor Stocks Working Group Peer Review Panel. With greatly improved recruitment and low fishing morality rates since 1998, the rebuilding target has been exceeded since 2005, and the stock is considered rebuilt. Given the success of the latest modeling approach, the stock is no longer considered a data poor stock.

Average Commercial Landings and Value 2001–2010 – 179,976 lbs./$102,971

2010 Commercial Landings and Value – 102,853 lbs./$51,424 (quota managed)

Average Recreational Landings 2001–2010 – 4,056 lbs., 2010 – 4,575 lbs.

Status of Fisheries Management Plan (FMP) – In North Carolina, the stock north of Cape Hatteras and south of the United States/Canada border is currently included in the Interjurisdictional FMP, which defers to Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission (ASMFC)/ MAFMC FMP compliance requirements. Scup are currently managed under Amendment 12 to the joint ASMFC/MAFMC FMP. Scup south of Cape Hatteras are managed by the South Atlantic Fishery Management Council. A coastwide quota regulates the winter period (November–April), while state–by–state quotas regulate the summer period (May–October). Specific management measures for the commercial fishery include minimum size limits, minimum mesh requirements for trawls, and a seasonal closure. Recreational fishery management measures are developed annually and include a combination of minimum size limits, bag limits, and fishing seasons.

Research and Data Needs – There is a need to continue monitoring catches and increase sampling of strata that have substantial landings of scup. Reliable estimates of scup discard mortality by different commercial gear types are needed.

Current Regulations – Commercial: 9 inches total (TL) minimum size limit; Recreational: 8 inches TL minimum size limit/50 per day year–round.

Harvest Season – Federal possession limit in Winter I is 30,000 lbs. per trip, with states implementing a two week landing limit of 30,000 pounds. When 80% of the Total Allowable Catch is reached, the possession limit will drop to 1,000 pounds per day. Winter II landing limit is 1,500 lbs. per day. North Carolina commercial season closes by proclamation.

Size and Age at Maturity – 50% maturity: 6.1 inches TL/2 years, both sexes
                
Historical and Current Maximum Age – 20 years/10 years

Juvenile Abundance Index – Not available

Habits and Habitats – Scup are a schooling continental shelf species found in depths from 40 fathoms to 100 fathoms, distributed primarily between Cape Cod, MA and Cape Hatteras, N.C. and is assumed to constitute a single unit stock. Scup migrate south and offshore in autumn as the water temperature decreases, arriving in offshore wintering areas by December, but are generally not commercially landed in North Carolina until the coldest winter months (January–April). Spawning occurs from May through August and peaks in June. Scup have been characterized as slow–growing, relatively long–lived fish.

For more information, contact Chris Batsavage at Chris.Batsavage@ncdenr.gov or 1-800-682-2632 or (252) 808-8088.

N.C. Division of Marine Fisheries • 3441 Arendell Street • Morehead City, NC 28557 • (252) 726-7021 or 1-800-682-2632

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